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Re: free code books

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To my knowledge, the Supreme Court has not elected to take up this matter.  Thus, it is not "according the Supreme Court".

The ruling that you are likely talking about (and the website lists as its justification) is the Veeck case.  If so, then it should be noted that (to my knowledge) this is ONLY one ruling on the matter and I believe there are some rulings that go in the opposite direction.  And this ruling technically only applies to the jurisdictions covered by that particular appellate court (i.e. Texas, Mississippi, & Louisiana).

This article actually has a rather decent discussion on the case and the issues in the case:

This article might also be of interest as it is more recent (i.e. about of month ago) and directly talks about this website, but it nominally is saying the same thing as the previous article:

The point is that it is far from clear if what this website is doing is "legal" or not.  It is quite possible that it is only "legal" in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.  But, as the one article mentioned, it is possible that the ICC is not too interested in pursuing this...for now.

I will note that the site does NOT appear to post copies (yet at least) of referenced standards such as ASCE 7, ACI 318, ACI 530 (masonry code), etc.  This could be related to the last of the first paragraph in that second article (i.e. "Because model codes are not always adopted as written, the Fifth Circuit separated the original model code (copyrightable) from the code as adopted (public domain).")...i.e. realizes that they are on much shakier legal ground related to the referenced standards and thus does not want to post them.  It could be that they just do not realize the importance of needing to have those documents as well.  Or they just may not have gotten around to it.  Whatever the reason, it basically means that what you download from them is rather useless if you were expecting to get everything you need code wise to do structural work...even the CBC has gone to referencing standards for HUGE portions of the structural provisions.  Without ASCE 7, ACI 318, etc, most (if not all) state codes (because they basically use the model codes) are useless for structural work.  So, you may save the cost buying the IBC or CBC, but you will likely still need to buy ACI 318, ASCE 7, etc.

And I will close with a "be careful what you wish for" comment.  If this was taken to its "logical" conclusion, the result would be that there would be no reason/incentive for entities like ICC, ACI, ASCE, etc to create model codes or building standards as they could not recoup their costs (at least as things are currently set up).  The end result would be that either the states would have to pay them some "flat fee" or develop codes themselves.  In either case, that would shift a significant cost to the states (not to mention the potential for WILDLY difference codes from state to state if they are do their own thing...admittedly, not a huge possibility, but still possible) as the states currently get all the benefit of the model codes development process with very little direct cost to them.  This would mean either larger deficits for states (assuming they don't want to raise taxes) or higher taxes and/or fees.  The point is that these documents (model building codes and building standards) are not just magically created by the Code Fairy...they cost money to produce (yes, they do cost money even though much of the work is done by volunteers).



On Jan 27, 2011, at 10:18 AM, erik wrote:

Someone posted this link before but it was copied into a reply, therefore I do not think that everyone may have read it.


Basically since all building codes are public resources according to the Supreme Court of the United States they should not be privatized and sold.


Therefore all building codes are free material. The link provides the code for almost all States that you can download.


Funny thing how capitalism seems to work against us sometimes since some organizations…cough cough ‘ICC’  do try and privatize the code….just saying.